Immigration and Family Life
As you no doubt are aware, a major issue facing our country these days is immigration reform, and in recent days, one aspect of the immigration issue involves children being separated from their families at the United States/Mexico border due to a no-tolerance policy implemented by the governmental administration. Like many of you, I have been filled with horror and sadness as I have read articles and seen pictures of these families torn asunder.
The family is the cornerstone of society and the domestic Church where we first learn about our relationship with God and the ways of the faith. The Eucharist as the Sacrament of Unity is meant to nourish us and our families, drawing us closer and closer together in communion. It is absolutely paramount that we strive to keep our families together and free from harm, and as a Church, we realize that we are called likewise to protect the dignity of the family wherever it may be found, but especially amongst those who are weakest, most marginalized, and most vulnerable, including immigrants, refugees, and the unborn.
Even as I am writing this, I am learning that the President has signed an executive order, and that members of our government are striving to pass laws to discontinue this process, which sounds like a step in the right direction. The Catechism states that a nation has a right to subject immigration to legal conditions for the good of the country, and points out that immigrants have an obligation to obey the laws of the country they are trying to enter. However, it is also very clear that unless we address the causes of immigration and strive for a just and lawful reform of our immigration system with compassion for our brothers and sisters in need, we are doomed to repeat similar tragedies to the ones we have witnessed in the past few days.
In our very politically polarized nation, it is very easy to focus on blaming others for the situation. As a priest, I am aware that our parish and our Catholic Church encompasses individuals of many different leanings and opinions, and I realize that my philosophy and theology degrees hardly make me an expert and politics. And yet, we as a Church can and must stand up for issues, independent of party lines. As Cardinal Timothy Dolan said recently, “Enough of blame. Enough of retribution. Enough of accusation. We need to get together and say, “Let’s make this work.’”
I encourage you to contact Catholic Charities of Saint Louis (ccstl.org) to learn more about how you can help immigrants at the border and in our community, and please join me in praying for a just and compassionate solution for immigration reform.